Leading reformist sentenced to six years in prison
Published in “Der Standard” (Austria) on November 22, 2009
Source (German): http://derstandard.at/1256745374371/Teheran-Fuehrender-Reformer-zu-sechs-Jahren-Haft-verurteilt
Former vice-president Abtahi released on bail – Moussavi demands to end intimidation
Tehran – The former Iranian vice-president Mohammad Ali Abtahi who has been sentenced to a six-year imprisonment is not going back to prison for the time being. According to the official news agency IRNA, the reformist politician remains free on a bail amounting to 7 billion Rial (about 466.000 Euro) for the duration of the appeals procedure. According to press reports published on Sunday, Abtahi is charged with fuelling the protests and unrests following the disputed presidential election in June. He was informed about the verdict the day before, it says. Abtahi together with dozens of other representatives of the reformist camp had been arrested after the election.
During the presidency of Mohammad Khatami, Abtahi had been the vice president of the Islamic Republic from 1997 – 2005. He would be the highest ranking reformist to be sentenced to prison in the context of the protests.
After the re-election of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the opposition had accused the government of massive electoral fraud. The leadership in Tehran rejected the allegations and confronted the protesters violently. Several people died, thousands were arrested. The unrests were the severest to take place since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi called for an end of the intimidation of government opponents. The opposition will continue its work and is ready to pay any price, Moussavi was quoted saying on his web site “Kalame” on Sunday. The statement was published shortly before a scheduled rally of moderate forces to commemorate the assassination of a dissident couple in 1998. Security forces had called on the opposition to abstain from protest activities.